Due to recent active wildfires in Collier County, the Florida Department of Health in Collier County cautions everyone about the health effects of wildfire smoke as a respiratory irritant, which can cause scratchy throat, coughing, headaches or irritated eyes and nose. Smoke can also worsen asthma, and other chronic lung or heart conditions. Dust generated from increased wildfire response activity on dirt roads may also worsen these conditions.
How to protect your family from smoke:
• Pay attention to local air quality reports, news coverage or health warnings related to smoke.
• Avoid prolonged outdoor activities. This is especially important for children and persons with pre-existing medical conditions.
• Stay indoors and run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. For best results, run the air conditioning with recirculated air.
If you do not have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.
• Help keep particle levels lower inside. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and candles. Do not vacuum, which stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke.
• Follow your doctor’s advice about taking medicines and following your asthma management plan if you have asthma or other lung disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.
Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.
The Immokalee Bulletin is published every Thursday.